Jim Penrod of Maumelle is one of just 22 volunteers from across the country who graduated from the inaugural class of AARP’s national Volunteer Leadership Institute earlier this month in Washington, D.C.
Penrod is a retired university administrator and member of AARP Arkansas’ Executive Council.
The Volunteer Leadership Institute is a rigorous and innovative training opportunity launched by AARP in December 2012 to mobilize highly skilled and motivated AARP volunteers to the next level of volunteer leadership. The first class met both in person and virtually over a 13-month period to build their leadership strengths in one of three chosen “tracks” – advocacy, community outreach or external representation.
AARP is one of the leading volunteer organizations in the nation, with more than 55,000 active volunteers, according to Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond; “VLI is an investment in our volunteers – providing resources and opportunities for innovation to take volunteers with proven leadership ability to a new level. I know of no other organization has created this type of volunteer development experience.”
The graduation of the VLI’s first class of participants is a critical step forward for AARP as an organization. “We have an ambitious social change agenda aimed at empowering people 50+ to enjoy the way they live and work today, while reaching their goals for tomorrow” said LeaMond. ”AARP is able to meet our goals by leveraging the talents, the skills, and the tenacity of our volunteers.”
“We congratulate Jim for this honor,” said AARP Arkansas State Director Maria Reynolds-Diaz. “Arkansas is very fortunate to have him selected as part of this special inaugural group. His expertise in leadership, management, research methods and higher education contributed greatly to the success of the program. Jim will continue to be involved on the VLI curriculum committee and as a mentor on leadership both nationally and in the state as a member of the AARP Arkansas Executive Council.”
The other VLI graduates have made early strides as well, taking on new responsibilities, such as serving on committees and task forces; representing AARP as subject matter experts at events and conferences; and reaching more than 11,000 people through speaking engagements.
AARP will host two VLI classes in 2014. The first will begin meeting in February.